A Virtually Real State of Affairs

Racepoint Global

Virtual Reality (VR) has the potential to assimilate itself into a range of industries

  • The Smartphone.
  • The Like.
  • The Tablet.
  • The Hashtag.

Regardless of how far society believes it has technologically advanced in the past two decades, the virtual reality (VR) industry is only an infant in its lifespan.

Virtual Reality

Gadgets such as the Google Cardboard, HTC Vive, Samsung Gear VR and the Facebook-acquired Oculus Rift may seem mainstream in media coverage, yet the production of content for the consumer market is lacking. 2017 will see that change, with the development of consumer friendly uses within immersive virtual environments.

VR technology offers capabilities including a 360-degree view that has been utilised by Facebook and YouTube, as well as a visualisation technique, that sees a once passive user complete movements and instructions to transition themselves into an online-based recreational journey.
However, VR should not only be seen as a tool for leisure and entertainment. With rapid enhancements and the virtual reality landscape estimated to be worth $33.9 billion (Markets and Markets) worldwide by 2022, professional services can leverage on VR’s unique capabilities and repurpose them to transform the way their business is conducted.

Here are three potential sectors that could be transformed by the development of this technology:

REAL ESTATE:
Searching for properties can be a frustrating and tiresome process, especially when one has to travel extensively, only to find the kitchen too small and the dining room too dark. VR provides an opportunity to eradicate issues of proximity and time constraints when searching for a new property. It may be possible to look through each and every room with patience, while having less pressure to decide on the spot whether to pursue a rental or purchase.
In addition, if deciding to go ahead with the process, it would allow homeowners to plan ahead in terms of design and infrastructure if subject to a transitional moving period. It would be especially useful for those who are planning to move abroad, but are unable to find the time or resources to consistently visit their chosen location, helping them avoid constant communication via a third party.

Start VR is an Australian company dedicated in producing VR content to provide immersive experiences. They have developed sales promotional content for potential buyers of a Sydney apartment development. The Start VR CEO, Kain Tietzel, said that his company designed the virtual replica of the apartments so that visitors would, “feel like they are in a finished apartment, feel the true dimensions and space and also enjoy the actual views.” The widespread use of this technology would avoid wasted money and time, while providing a unique experience for property seekers.

HEALTHCARE:
With the NHS struggling financially and currently unable to sustain a viable recruitment and retention process, VR provides the chance to eradicate the logistical issues of mass training and propel the healthcare industry into the next stage of technological development.
By building an immersive experience, medical students could watch their colleagues and role models
perform operations in high definition at a selected speed. It would also allow for virtual practice and
training, which would provide a forward thinking platform for British medical research and
subsequently healthcare.

The latest development connecting mainstream technology and medical issues is the presence of
online doctors over smartphone applications. The digital infrastructure allows patients to connect
almost instantly to a GP who can diagnose them on the spot and in some cases, send prescriptions to
local pharmacies. Lifting the burden on the NHS’ workload, this has become the first step of
technology’s limitless potential in healthcare. Via the use of VR, patient and doctor communication,
as well as medical practice, can become more accessible, accurate and effective.

EDUCATION:
Wade Watts, a fictional character in Ernest Cline’s 2011 novel ‘Ready Player One’ conducts his own
education inside the ‘OASIS’. The ‘OASIS’, standing for the Ontologically Anthropocentric Sensory
Immersive Simulation, allowed the poverty stricken Watts to conduct his education in a controlled
and virtual environment. The young character describes a virtual world where students are blocked
from distractions and can complete their schooling in a safe environment. It may be fiction, but the
capabilities of virtual reality, with the addition of interactivity in the near future, suggests that those
from backgrounds where education is less accessible would benefit highly from a virtual schooling
system.

As previously discussed by Racepoint Global, a virtual reality landscape may provide the opportunity
for private learning, which can be more interactive, more fun and more effective for different types of
learners. Nevertheless, it would be wise to acknowledge the potential lack of personal interaction
that this could create. A big benefit of the educational status quo is the participatory nature that
occurs from human to human contact.

There may be the issue, as with the two other industries aforementioned, that the lack of an organic
process of delivery may impact the quality of information that is communicated from businesses and
services to consumers.